Peer pressure, proving oneself, and new tools for that

       While most of our societies no longer need adults capable of hunting to ensure our protein supply, we clearly still have a burning need to find ways to prove ourselves, especially when we are young.  NPR reported on a nationwide problem, recently: teenagers are vandalizing school property for the attention on social media.  Somehow, the very human need to prove oneself is being channeled into a means of seeking approval that actually does damage to the infrastructure that was built to help those same kids move forward in life.  Clearly, something is missing.  Is it that we don’t seek buy-in from our young people about the ways we try to prepare them for life, or is it that we lack ways of allowing all of them to gain healthy attention, apart from empty participation trophies?

   The new rite of passage I imagined some years ago may be a tool that can help us use that peer pressure and need to prove ourselves, turning into a benefit for all of society, and maybe for the benefit of us all?


Action Questions:

1.) What, if you wish to share, was a defining moment of self-proof that made a difference in your life?

2.) How would having a new way of showing what each person can do affect the role of teenagers and coming of age in our society, do you imagine?

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write -one can add Stayed on Freedom’s Call via  GoodReads,

Vote, Teach and Learn (PDF Lesson Plans offline)

my Babylon 5 review posts, if you like Science Fiction,
a proposed Vision on Wondering Wednesdays: for a kinder world…

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil

the year 2021 CE =  12021 HE

Stayed on Freedom’s Call
includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.

Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.


Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones by ShiraDest is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

28 thoughts on “Peer pressure, proving oneself, and new tools for that

  1. Interesting – indigenous cultures in NorthAmerica all had rites of passage for young people. European immigrants to North American had no uniform rites of passage. Indigenous people saw young people as members of their culture. European immigrants classified children and women as “property.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Quite true: and it seems to have held over into our current ways of treating kids. This is why I keep emphasizing that any new model for society must ensure that every kid gets the resources directly, in the form of money, a safe home, and food, etc, directly under that kid’s control from the moment the kid can safely take care of a kitchen independently. For most kids, I think that happens around 8 or 9, and my grandma taught me to cook an egg when I was about 7, if I recall correctly (the fried chicken didn’t go so well, that summer).

      Now we call that being an “emancipated minor,” but I think that every child should be emancipated, yet still have a way of being helped to understand what needs to happen, like education, for long-term life preparation. Many kids don’t see the value of schooling until later on, and they do need guidance, especially in developing empathy, logic, and planning skills, but they should not feel forced to do things that seem useless to them. The big problem is showing them how important some of these things are, when they have not yet developed the cognitive ability to “grok” them.

      Kind of like the split between the SNCC folks and the kids back in2012 at OccupyDC vs. OccupyWashington. That just got me: I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry, for the longest time, even after I taught in both sites’ Teach Ins.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Perhaps you know more about one aspect of this than I do. How does susceptibility to peer pressure vary according to whether one is an extrovert or an introvert? I, an introvert, have been acting contrary to peer pressure since childhood. Maybe my willfulness to be myself strengthens me against pressure to conform to what others want me to become.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I think there’s some truth to the idea of rituals resolving and preventing problems, but I’d caution that a) they have to be the right rituals and more importantly, b) there have to be mechanisms for disbanding rituals / addressing abuses of power when necessary. To make a blanket statement about ritual generally risks ignoring abuse perpetuated in religious institutions. I know that’s not what you were thinking of, but it’s merely an extreme example to illustrate where the blanket statement falls short.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Very good point: ritual needs to be honed and adapted both for the purpose it is meant to serve, and for the person/people involved. And the abuses we’ve seen not only in religious ritual, but in student ritual (hazing at colleges and at the Service Academies) certainly need to be addressed more effectively, which is why I’m working to make The Challenge flexible, changeable, accountable, and responsive to each community that chooses to adopt it.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. I suspect that story and ritual actually fill two different (though perhaps closely related) sets of needs, for people, as one is about teaching, while the other is more about action, although it is true that both involve both…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. There are, no doubt, many factors, and I think that The Adulthood Challenge, properly handled by caring community, could resolve many of those issues within the context of preparation for and consumation of a new rite of passage that allows adolescents more leeway in making their voices heard, and also winning renown in various ways, or winning the approval of their peers as well as the rest of us (the NPR article seemed to point to the approval of others on TikTok as a major factor in this phenomenon…).

      Btw, I’m dying to see what you think of Saturday’s post on “Stories, TV, and mental health” when you have a chance!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Very good point, Dr. G.

          Our Lt. Col. used to tell us, in Jr. ROTC, to “make the system work.” And back in 1987, before going to Annapolis, I believed that might be possible. But he was from the generation of the Tuskegee Airmen, and we all looked up to that generation, more than to the SNCC gen that were our parents, probably, but still with their sense of getting the system to recognize us.
          We still have to try to fix this system, because the alternatives can get far worse in a very big hurry.
          That is why I work so hard to put a vision of long term system change, as you know, together, via the only thing that I can do to make a difference (as I seem to be an abysmal classroom teacher, at least unless I’ve got pre-calc students!), so I go back to work on Baby Acres/Floors, for my Wondering Wednesdays series, and hope that the book will be of some use, if it’s not forgotten or ignored or simply never even heard of by enough people who care enough to act for the good of us all.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. “Any attention is good attention even if its bad.” This was my observation as a child who was often sidelined for not being athletic enough, pretty enough, well-spoken enough. My older brother, my only sibling, was supposed to be the golden child but instead we ended up as a bad movie trope: Good Cop/Bad Cop. He had everything and threw it away because he always wanted more and I had to fight for every little scrap my parents could afford me. Now? Who is the golden goose and the good cop? It’s me. The child they ignored because I chose to invest in getting smarter and working harder instead of pandering for attention. It takes a lot of brick building instead of brick throwing to create long-lasting self worth without the need of someone else’s attention telling you, “You done good, child.” Every generation seems to get alienated in its own way. In my era (yours too?) is was workaholic and alcoholic parents that made us feel alienated. Maybe now its, what should we call it? Attention-deficit parents? You know what I mean? A lack of in-person experiences and connectivity with our family members. Every couple of months I text my niece and ask, “Are you still alive? I love you!” and she LOL’s me back and says she loves me too. It’s something, which is better than nothing. I try to make sure they know I’m there when they need me most, because I believe that’s what family should do – be there when you need them most. Even my racist, unvaxxed, QAnon believing fam who have said some really hateful things to me and my non-friends in the past. I keep hoping one day they’ll wake up and remember I was there for them when Donald Trump wasn’t. :/ I know I’m bigger then them, like a Tardis, I’m bigger on the inside. I got more love and peace than they’ll ever know and it makes me sad, they’ll never know it.

    Liked by 2 people

Please Share your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s